Our Lenten Devotion for Saturday, April 2, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” Mark 15:21 NIV
“Crossbearers for Christ”
“Jesus, God made human, falls so that we can bend over to him and show him our love and compassion, but we are too busy with other things to even notice God, whose hands molded the universe, gave shape to Adam and Eve, touched every suffering person with tenderness, and who holds all things in love, became a human person with human hands asking for human hands. But those very hands were left open and pierced with nails.”
(from Walk With Jesus by Henri J.M. Nouwen, page 58Henri)
For Simon of Cyrene, this may have been a once-in-a-lifetime journey from north Africa to celebrate the Passover with his fellow believers. As he passed by the procession to execution hill on that fateful Friday, the bloodied man in the middle fell under the weight of his cross. The soldiers grabbed Simon and compelled him to carry the cross of Jesus. Simon no doubt carried back home the incredible news that he had not only met the promised Messiah, but even carried his cross. He and his family apparently became committed crossbearers for Christ (Romans 16:132). Being crossbearers for Christ is no less important in the twenty-first century. It means we are willing to get our hands dirty and our hearts broken in the service of our Savior, as we bring help and hope to lost and suffering people in our region and around the world.
I do believe that it is important to remember that “taking up the cross” does not mean tolerating some annoyance or inconvenience, as the phrase is so often used. Instead, bearing the Cross of Christ means taking up where Jesus left off, serving those in need and working toward the peace of Christ, even though that peace surpasses our human capacity to understand.
Lord Jesus, help me bear your cross in ways that enable others to receive the tender touch of your nail-pierced hands through me. Amen.